Known for his sublime and immediately identifiable guitar tone, his intimate knowledge of the tools of studio and stage, and his unique, impeccable ear, Becker is heralded as one of the most potent forces in popular music of the last 50 years.
“Julien’s Auctions is thrilled to offer this exceptional collection of musical instruments and gear owned and cherished by Walter Becker, the co-founder and creative genius of one of the most acclaimed and visionary bands of all time, Steely Dan, and a solo artist of uncommon uniqueness and creativity,” said Darren Julien, CEO/President of Julien’s Auctions.
"Walter Becker was legendary for his unique tone, his curiosity, his knowledge, his high audiophile standards, and the pleasure he took in experimenting to create just the right sonic landscape that would best support his creative and musical intentions. This fine and wide-ranging collection reflects all of these characteristics — and more — that helped make Walter Becker one of the most talented and respected all-around musicians and sonic connoisseurs of his generation."
If this event interests you, your first visit should be to Julien’s Auctions,my carefully-considered choice to handle Walter’s much beloved babies and to usher them into what we all earnestly hope are new loving and musical homes. Do your old D-Mod a solid — would you? — and send up a little wish for just that outcome?
That’s what Walter wanted, of course. And I like to think his legacy deserves no less.
The Julien’s Auctions folks have been truly spectacular, and I’ve been blown away by their knowledge, the care they are taking with this inventory, and what appears to me to be a truly above-and-beyond effort to do this one up right! They value Walter Becker, his work, his legacy, and his stuff! Wonderful!
Their site dedicated to The Becker Auction will be updating with details and news --- such as today's Rolling Stone piece on the auction -- and all you need to know to view the live auction online or even bid remotely, if you're so moved.
I strongly urge you to sign up for their newslettersand alerts! No way will we keep up with all the happenings and must-knows; So, please sign up with them if you are interested in following along.
No doubt I will have more to say as time goes on about what is for me, at least, a rather momentous event, although I’ll be leaving all the informative details to Julien’s, who will do a fine job of informing prospective bidders and observers.
But now, to no one’s surprise, I’d like to indulge in an initial observation about this collection, things you may not hear much about elsewhere, even though they speak eloquently, I believe, about the man and the cherished possessions I witnessed him acquire and use (and use! and use!!) for the last few decades.
And it is this:
I believe the collection reveals a somewhat unique aspect of Walter and his place — and reputation — in the music-making community both as a connoisseur and as a so-called “collector”; namely, his championing of up-and-coming luthiers and other sound professionals. To be sure, we find in his collection the Fenders, the Gibsons, the Guilds and the Marshalls; but we also find the Hahns, the Ian Andersons, the Grimes’, the Monty’s, the Satellites, the Dr. Zs (I’ve left out plenty of others’ names). And of course, when SD Mach 2 all began, there was that scrappy genius Roger Sadowsky already in fast mid-flight, building his his now-mighty empire.
Finding, supporting, and mentoring talented and aspiring professionals was important to Walter, and resulted in discovering and giving feedback on — and sometimes even helping to shape — personalized “boutique” instruments and gear, and then applying his innovative mind to benefit from their use. Watch amplifier developer Dr. Z here for an insightful and informed discussion of Walter’s use of creative and unique amps and amplification schemes, and how he would “play the amp as an instrument.”
His enthusiasm and creativity in wringing the best out of every noise-making contraption
he came across — well, let me tell you, it was a sight to behold.
There will be others along, I hope, who will speak more knowledgeably about Walter’s perhaps surprising (and not widely known) reputation within the guitar and gear community. But as far as I'm concerned, these pieces hold a special place in Walter’s collection, reflecting as they do his deep engagement with the gutsy and talented souls who help put more and better music into the world, and whom he so appreciated and valued.